As a North American Company that is looking to increase its sales, you most likely have thought about expanding to Europe. Not only does Europe offer you plenty of new opportunities, it will also give you the benefit of operating in a single European Market, with a large customer base. Once you have set-up your business in a EU market, you will have easy access to the other 27 member states. Some of which, are the wealthiest countries in the world. In order to get there, you need to consider your logistic challenges and how you will meet your customers’ demands. This blog will go deeper into how to overcome these challenges by setting-up European warehousing.
Covering this topic is Marc van Veldhuizen, Business Development Manager at EuroDev. During his time at EuroDev, Marc has helped several of his North-American clients to establish a warehouse in Europe and streamline their logistic processes.
Warehousing in Europe
There are several factors that needed to be taken into consideration before opening a warehouse in Europe. Marc kicks-off the topic by emphasizing the importance of understanding your European customer base. ‘ ’In order to pick the right place for your product, you need to know where your customer is located. This will result in shorter lead-times, lower shipment costs and far better responsiveness. And ultimately, happy customers’’. A European market research could be a great tool, in order to unveil your target markets and customers.
Marc states that there are more factors that needed to be considered in order to be successful:
Europe is home to an extensive network of roads, seaports, railways and airports. Marc explains: ’Not all European Countries have the same capabilities and/or resources. It is very important to understand that there is a significant difference on this area within the EU. If your customers are wide spread through Europe, it would be very beneficial for your business to select a well-connected country’’. Marc adds ‘’Furthermore, if you ship your product from North-America to Europe for storage, you want this to be as smooth and cost efficient as possible’’.
Services & Storage Requirements
Some products have different requirements when it comes to storage. Do you have products that are hazardous, flammable, fragile? To comply with the current standards, you also would like to have automation. Accurate stock overviews, order-picking, fast responsiveness and reliability of your storage space. Marc adds: ‘’To pick the right partner, you need to take a look at their capabilities and critically assess if they meet your current requirements, but also for the foreseeable future. Advanced technology has led to better service provisions. Ask about the warehouse management system and confirm whether the company’s systems can be integrated with shipping companies and services that are essential to your business’’.
Consider the longevity of your warehouse location. Is it able to facilitate the growing or perhaps shrinking of your business? ‘’Flexibility is often an important aspect for my clients. They do not want to be tied down. Your European warehouse has to be an asset in the pursuit of growing your sales, it should not hold you back. The language skills at the warehouse is also crucial for success. You want to be able to prevent any miscommunications and ensure a durable relationship. The level of English speakers differ per European country’’. According to Marc; analyze the potential growth of your business and find the right fit.
There are several steps you need to take before you open your warehouse in Europe. However, when you found your ideal spot to serve your European customers, it can be a great asset to your company. Eliminating the long lead-times, cutting costs and staying close to your customers will make you more competitive. Marc adds: “It is not just about having a place to store your products. How you do it and where you do it, are just as important’’.
EuroDev, established in 1996 with offices in The Netherlands and France, has a single, defined purpose to help mid-sized North American companies expand their business in Europe. We have created a proven, successful business development model and since our founding, have partnered with over 300 companies to help them define and meet their European business goals. Services provided include Sales Outsourcing, HR Outsourcing and Digital Marketing.